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  • Writer's pictureloskokosos

A beginners guide to touring - Part 2

Updated: Dec 27, 2021

À la prochaine - so, where have we stopped? :)

The touring season is already in full swing and I just came back from a weekend in the mountains, motivated to push more and ride further and faster, and more competent for sure.

And while I'm super motivated to do so, I understand that a lot of people are not. That they would rather like to stay in the comfortable space of slopes and chairlifts. Use their ski pass and enjoy the hot wine on the terrace. Cheers to you, BUT - there's this wild and dreamy space, which I would like to tell you about...

Melchsee-Frutt - at Gross Hohmad
Melchsee-Frutt - at Gross Hohmad

When talking about touring, there are always the BUTs. And these are important points, which everyone should think about. To compare them with the fun you get is a good guiding point to decide, whether this will work for you.

The costs

There's undeniably the question of how will I get all the things I need and what will it cost me?

You need the touring skis and touring boots, or a splitboard and boots. Don't forget the bindings, the skins, the poles, the avalanche equipment, the crampons, the clothes, the helmet, and the goggles, the gloves, the bag or airbag and you're easily at 2.000 - 4.000 EUR. This is not a cheap outdoor activity and the question, in the beginning, is - should I rent or buy?

If you're unsure, there are a lot of places where to rent all this equipment - outdoor shops or mountain guide/outdoor agencies. The other option is to get at least part of the equipment second-hand, the most expensive is to buy it all! I hope you have a rich père Noël ;)

Flo Lemaire from the Amplid team @agence_m.i.n.e - presenting the options
Flo Lemaire from the Amplid team @agence_m.i.n.e - presenting the options

The risk

How much do you want to risk landing in an avalanche? If you hit a rock or a tree, dislocate your knee, shoulder, or any other part of the body, will it matter (a lot)?
Do you have a family to feed and protect? Is a member of your family coming with you? And how do you deal with stress and risk in general?

These are all super important questions to ask. It doesn't mean that you better stay at home and never put your feet out of the door to stay safe. It's about choosing the best and the safest route and trading an optimal risk you can accept out there.

Surely, you never know what can happen, but don't we all want to prevent the risks?

Arolla and its glacier caves - fun to ride, but safe enough?
Arolla and its glacier caves - fun to ride, but safe enough?

The effort

Nobody ever told you:

"Don't go out there, you will sweat like crazy, won't catch your breath, your face will get sunburnt, your fingers and feet will freeze off, you might hit few rocks on the way down and overall it's just fucked!" :D

I hope you're laughing just right now. But - it's true! And nobody will ever tell you this. That you will slide down, look like an idiot, fall often, will be buried in snow, and won't be able to get up. You will probably hit a tree, or a rock, or your co-tourer. And it will be terrible and still, it will be a lot of fun!

Never forget, this happened to all of us many times. Nobody is born to be a professional tourer from the very beginning. We all look ridiculous. And we all love freeriding.

What about you? When and where will be your next tour?
"Les Spliteuses" - at Col des Aravis (FR)
"Les Spliteuses" - at Col des Aravis (FR)


At the end of each post, I'll try to add links and tips, so check it out!

If you would like to learn more about freeriding, go to Xavier De Le Rue's YouTube channel - HOW TO XV

I recommend watching ‘Lorraine’s Master Skills’ - 6 episodes in which Lorraine Huber, professional skier and Freeride World Champion, reveals the mindset lessons and mental strength techniques she uses to build confidence, deal with anxiety, competition pressure, and the fear of failure

A book to come back to every winter, with a handy overview of plenty of freeriding areas across the Alps, where you can even use a chair lift is: wePowder Guide

They also provide the folks with a great snow and avalanche forecast for all Alps

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